Sabtu, 08 September 2012

Children's Books on Different Kinds of Families

I was recently asked if I knew of any good children's books to help someone who is a single mom explain to her five year old son that his family is normal... That was a good question! There are so many different kinds of families and many adults don't know how to explain this to their children. Many children live in what the world thinks of as a "normal" family with a mom and a dad but more and more this is not the case, that doesn't mean that other families are not normal just that they are different but still normal.

Surprisingly there are few books written about families that are not the mom, dad and child scenario family. Most of the family books that are available have that scenario and don't seem to have room for any other family organizations, that leaves some adults and children wondering where to turn for the same literary comfort that is abundantly out there for the mom, dad and child scenario family. I was really astonished at the lack of books for young children on this subject, we have had several generations now of single parents dealing with all the issues that have to be dealt with. Oh there are lots of books for adults but the children are somehow left out of the mix.

The following books are among the few I found that might be helpful, but the list is short for a reason, there just aren't many books out there on the subject, especially for single parents.

• The Family Book by Todd Parr
• We Belong Together: A Book About Adoption and Families by Todd Parr
• Who's in a Family? By Robert Skutch
• All Families Are Special by Norma Simon
• Do I Have a Daddy? A Story About a Single-Parent Child by Jeanne Warren Lindsay

I promised the person who asked me about a book for her friend that I would write a book for young children who were in the single parent situation like her friend's little boy, (I do have a bit of experience on the subject). Even though I usually write fantasy adventure or science fiction for middle grade or young adults I will give this my best efforts soon. It is a difficult subject for us adults to broach and trying to explain it so that children can understand is not easy... then again maybe it's easier for them to understand than it is for us grownups, we seem to complicate things way more than they need to be.

Julie L. Worthington is a writer of fantasy adventure and science-fiction middle-grade and young adult books along with short stories. She is passionate about children's literature both old and new. To find out more or to read some of her work go to

The Top 5 Children's Books on the American Revolution

I love history! It is sad these days when children say they hate history, "It's boring". I believe it's because they get bogged down in trying to memorize dates and lose sight of the people and adventures that happened all throughout history.

History is exciting! If we begin teaching our children when they are young they will learn to appreciate the wonderful stories and the exciting adventures that happened in history. There were so many regular people who became heroes and so many time periods to learn about. In this article I am going to focus on the Revolutionary time period. There are many different ways to get young people interested in this time period, the people were on a quest to explore the new country they had come to and determine how they wanted this new country to be. The people found great courage, and laid a foundation for a great country to be formed.

Even if we have our young readers read fiction based on different times in history it can help them appreciate what it was like in that particular time and how the people might have lived. The following is a short list of books I think children will enjoy reading about the Revolutionary time period. Some are factual and some are fiction with factual basis. All are fun to read and not "boring."

• The American Revolution by Bruce Blivin Jr.
• Felicity by American Girl Series
• Letters For Freedom: The American Revolution by Douglas M. Rife
• George vs. George by Rosalyn Schanzer
• Heroes and Heroines of the American Revolution by Peter F. Copeland

You will be able to find many more books for children to read with a little research, I hope we can instill in the young readers a love of history through literature.

I find that when I write my love of history is always evident. There is always some aspect of history in each book I have written and most of the short stories as well. I try to show the adventure and excitement of history and hopefully pique the interest of my readers to learn more about what was happening in that time period. For instance the book I am writing now has a great amount of time travel in it and I love doing the research for each place in time my characters go! One destination will of course be the Revolutionary time period where they will meet interesting people and have an exciting adventure!

Julie L. Worthington is a writer of fantasy adventure and science-fiction middle-grade and young adult books along with short stories. She is passionate about children's literature both old and new. To find out more or to read some of her work go to

Children's Books As Christmas Presents

I love Christmas! I would have Christmas all year long if I could somehow get away with it. So of course I spend much time thinking about what gifts I might get or make for my friends and family. Whether you are a young reader or not, children's books make great gifts, they are easy to wrap and they always have a wonderful adventure to give to the recipient. When you give a book to a young reader make sure they know just how special the book is to you, which will help them be excited about the new adventure that is ahead for them. In other words tell them the story of how you became acquainted with the book yourself.

You can also write a little message inside the book for them and that will make the gift even more special, it will also give them the feeling that you are sharing something special together. There are so many children's books to choose from, books with Christmas themes, cherished books from your childhood, newish books you have read recently or a book you have never read before that you can both read together for the first time. There are also many different ways to give a book such as an e-book, an audio book, or the traditional paper back or hard cover books, whatever you think the young reader in your life will enjoy the most.
Below are some Christmas themed suggestions to get you started:

• A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
• How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
• 'Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore
• Samantha (American Girl) by multiple authors
• Norman Rockwell's Christmas Book: Revised and Updated by Norman Rockwell
• The Christmas Dinner: A Play for Reading or Acting by Shepherd Knapp
• Christmas in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
• A Charlie Brown Christmas by Charles M. Shulz
• Christmas Books by Charles Dickens
• The Nutcracker Ballet: A Book, Theater, and Paper Doll Fold Out Play Set by Mara Conlon & Jo Gershman

A few years ago for Christmas my son gave me a leather-bound edition of Huckleberry Finn! I loved it! Children's literature is for everyone who loves a great story written by a great story teller. I would encourage you to share the wonderful world of children's books with those you love whether they are young readers or not. So get to know your young reader or find out what your friends and family members loved to read as children then go shopping and yes a used book is allowed to be given as a gift, some books are out of print and that's the only way you can get them. I believe with enough time, effort and thought you can find a book for everyone one on your Christmas list.

Julie L. Worthington is a writer of fantasy adventure and science-fiction middle-grade and young adult books along with short stories. She is passionate about children's literature both old and new. To find out more or to read some of her work go to

Fairy Tales and Fables Part 2

As I stated in a previous article for generations children have experienced fairy tales which have not only entertained but have taught good manners, respect, life, imagination and much more. Although our young readers of today know about a few that have been made into movies I have found that if you mention The Red Shoes by Hans Christian Anderson they won't know what you are talking about or they may think you are talking about Dorothy's ruby slippers. Or what about The Fisherman and His Wife by the Brothers Grimm which teaches children (or adults) not to be greedy if they know it exist.

Every country or society has fairy tales and fables children (or adults) can enjoy and learn from Hans Christian Anderson who was from Denmark and the Brothers Grimm who were from Germany but we have writers and story tellers from everywhere that have wonderful stories to tell, there is Childe Rowland by Joseph Jacobs of England, Aurore and Aimee by Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumount of France, Uncle Remus' Tar Baby by Joel Chandler Harris from America. I would highly recommend all three of these stories for your young readers!

The following is a short list of some more of the stories that I hope don't get forgotten along with their wonderful creators that I hope don't get forgotten either:

The Brothers Grimm
• The Blue Light
• The Clever Little Tailor
• The Donkey

Hans Christian Anderson
• The Little Match Girl
• The Nightingale
• The Steadfast Tin Soldier

• The Honest Woodcutter
• The North Wind and the Sun
• The Goose That Laid the Golden Eggs
• The Oak and the Reed
• The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse

Joseph Jacobs
• Catskin
• The Buried Moon
• The Brown Bear of Green Glen
• Jack and the Bean Stalk
• Molly Whuppie
• The Three Little Pigs

In this selection there are some that I hope will be recognized and some new ones that even I hadn't read before! That was really fun to find the new/old stories that held the wonder and excitement of the fairy tale or fable. I hope you have fun reconnecting or learning about them for the first time and sharing them with your young readers. I enjoy researching old stories and love learning about what might have been forgotten and then sharing it with others. I have even found myself incorporating this research into my writing I guess that's what story tellers do...

Julie L. Worthington is a writer of fantasy adventure and science-fiction middle-grade and young adult books along with short stories. She is passionate about children's literature both old and new. To find out more or to read some of her work go to

Children's Literature: Fairy Tales and Fables

For generations children have experienced fairy tales. These fairy tales have been stories that have been used to teach lessons on good manners, respect, life, imagination and much more. Our young readers of today can probably recognize some of the wonderful fairy tales of the past but I'm afraid a lot of them are being left out of today's reading experiences. They will recognize The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Anderson, Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie and Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi because Walt Disney loved fairy tales and wanted to share them with the children of his generation and the children of generations to come. There are so many more fairy tales that he didn't get around to and may be lost to our young readers if we don't remind them that these wonderful stories, who seem like old friends to me, are out there. J. K. Rowling even made up fairy tales for her famous Harry Potter series which are very reminiscent of the cherished old stories that we need to revisit.

The following is a short list of some of the stories that I hope don't get forgotten along with their wonderful creators that I hope don't get forgotten either:

The Brothers Grimm

• The Elves and the Shoemaker

• The Town Musicians of Bremen

• The Pied Piper of Hamelin

Hans Christian Anderson

• The Most Incredible Thing

• Thumbelina

• The Ugly Duckling

• The Princess and the Pea


• The Boy Who Cried Wolf

• The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse

• The Tortoise and the Hare

• The Ant and the Grasshopper

• The Lion and the Mouse

These wonderful writers told stories that helped nurture honesty, courage, hard work, self esteem and imagination. There are some writers or story tellers who have been forgotten such as the writer or story teller who created the story of The Little Red Hen which is one of my very favorites, all we know now about this story is that it began in Russia. I hope we can share and remember the great fairy tales we have with our young readers and help them to learn to love and appreciate the wonderful literature that is available to them. I have little tip for those who have a kindle or some other kind of e-reader, most of the fairy tales, fables, and folk tales can downloaded for free. I hope you have fun reconnecting with these old friends and sharing them with your young readers.

Julie L. Worthington is a writer of fantasy adventure and science-fiction middle-grade and young adult books along with short stories. She is passionate about children's literature both old and new. To find out more or to read some of her work go to

7 Books to Ignite a Love of Reading in Your Boy!

What books can we give our boys to teach them to love reading at a young age? What holds their interest and sparks a love of reading and knowledge? As a parent, you wonder what you can do to entice your boy to read, and not to fight them just to pick up a book. After months of trial and error with different genres, writing styles, and subjects, I found seven books that will spark a boy's interest and keep it.

1. The Adventures of Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey

George and Harold are two elementary school boys who love to draw and make up stories, so they decide to make comics for themselves. They are about a character they make up called Captain Underpants, who later becomes their principal! The series promotes creativity and encourages kids to draw or write their own comics. The unique and easy to follow writing style of the author insures that your boy will not become bored or frustrated by trying to figure out big words. The pictures throughout the book are fun and ensure that your boy will spend hours laughing over this book and will want to read it again and again. And luckily, there are more novels in this series!

2. Ricky Ricotta's Mighty Robot by Dav Pilkey

Since we enjoyed this author's writing style so much, we decided to try this series to see if the author's writing had the same endearing qualities, and we were not disappointed. With monsters from space, robots, and silly words and phrases, your boy will enjoy every minute in the pages of this book. There are no complicated or large words, and there are pictures on every page. As is consistent with the author's style, the book encourages art by providing instructions on how to draw the characters at the end of every book in the series!

3. The Stink Adventures by Megan McDonald

This series has differing themes throughout, such as space travel, gigantic jawbreakers, stinky shoes, and treasure hunts. This author also writes the Judy Moody series, and the main character, Stink, is Judy's younger brother. The books are easy to read and follow, with great jokes and silly situations that will keep your boy highly entertained, and excited for the next book. The pictures are detailed and just as entertaining as the story, and some books even have color pictures. This is a fun entertaining series that your boy will want more of.

4. Sir Fartsalot Hunts the Booger by Kevin Bolger

This book is a hilarious read. The book is full of silly and gross names that have boys hooting with delight, such as: the story takes place in the Kingdom of Armpit, a knight is named Sir Bedwetter, and Sir Fartsalot is hard of hearing, so he always hears what someone says incorrectly and creates great jokes. The book is filled with colorful characters and an entertaining style of writing, so your boy always wants to read more. This book is also fun to read together, as you will enjoy the jokes as much as your child.

5. Goosebumps by R.L. Stine

I enjoyed these books when I was in elementary school so I thought I would try reading them with my boy. He loves them so much that we have worn out copies and had to buy new ones. With scary but unique ideas such as invisibility gone wrong, haunted houses, scary monsters, and aliens, there is a novel in this series for every boy. If you want an easier read for your boy, the Goosebumps Horrorland series uses less large words than the Goosebumps series, and follows along, but has some interesting maps and stories to catch a boy attention and keep it, even before they can read the larger, harder-to-read series!

6. Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

This series is easy to read and set up much like a comic book and diary. There are tons of pictures filled with as many jokes and descriptions as the actual story. This series addresses situations boys find themselves placed in with a witty outlook and realistic resolutions, by engaging boys with a character just like they are. As the character deals with everyday situations with sarcasm and humor, boys are sucked into the books and can't put them down!

7. My Weird School Days Series by Dan Gutman

Who didn't wish that their teacher really was an alien or crazy? This series takes those thoughts to the maximum with crazy teachers that do silly things, to super-smart teachers that are computers posing as people, to lunch ladies writing secret messages in mashed potatoes. The amusing situations and play-on-words keep boys anxious to read more, and laughing out loud. The books are filled with real facts that are delivered in a stimulating and easy to read way that helps kids remember them, but not realize that they are learning too!

Shi Belcher is a stay at home mom and an avid reader. She enjoys all genres of literature and reading childrens' books with her son. She enjoys expanding her book collection and believes that books are meant to be shared with others. She particularly enjoys the science-fiction, fantasy, romance, and classic books.

Check out her book recommendation blog at

4 Tips For Writing Fantasy Stories

Do you feel overwhelmed because you never know how to come up with an opening line to your fantasy book? Most people feel a writer's block when they start writing their story because they do not know how to start.

Here are four step-by-step approaches or categories to get you started and focused on your writing.

1. Create A Character

2. Create The Setting

3. Create A Conflict

4. Create A Solution-Ending

I just finished reviewing a fantastic juvenile fiction series called The Kelmar Trilogy by Laura Sepesi. Fantasy is highly imaginative writing. For example, one can read about animals talking with one another, expressing emotions and wearing real clothes. Fantasy can be set in medieval times with castles and dragons, wizards and knights. Or the story can be set in the future.

So, when you begin to write your fantasy story, you will need to come up with a name for your character. Keep in mind that you will want to choose an exciting name and not just "dragon" but rather, "dragon-lord." This is what we call a compound word, taking two separate words joined together to form a new word, like "candlestick."

At this point, you will want to create details of your character from his or her size, characteristics, color, appearance, and descriptive titles to your character. For example, Dubious the dark-knight or Phoebe, the good-fairy of Seaguard Cove have soft or hard sounds to their name.

Once you've established the main characters and sub-characters of your story and have included a variety of dragons, dwarfs, ladies and lords, it's time to move on to the setting.

Will you start with the Great Fortress of Camden, surrounded in an enchanting forest? Perhaps the wise queen of Goshen lives in the High Tower of Gadzar. Whatever setting you choose, you will have lots of scene changes to create from barren deserts and empty plains to evil fortresses and radiant cities.

The next hearty step of your story outline will be the meat-and-potatoes part. Will the dark forces pose traps, plots and schemes to force their opponent in battle? Will monsters arise, sorcerers cast spells and a witch uses an invisibility cloak to lead a surprise attack to defeat their enemies? Yes, more descriptive writing occurs here to develop a real page-turner story.

My favorite and final point in writing a fantasy story is to provide an ending that hopefully pleases everyone but after all, it is your story and you probably will choose a predictable ending, like good triumphs over evil, but then, maybe not.

I personally like to read about the Good Lady Diana being rescued by her favorite, Great Knight Nicholas, from the treacherous and barbarous William Zardk, along with his companion, the dangerous Dragon Dunzabar. To be taken to Nicholas' enchanted castle to meet his father, the Kindly King, and to begin a new life atop a pinnacle of rock, overlooking a lush valley would be a great ending, and indeed another sequel to a marvelous, new beginning.

For more reviews and writing tips, visit my website and online market place at

Book Review for "The Lightning Thief"

Book Review: The Lightning Thief
Written by: Rick Riordan
Hyperion Books
ISBN: 0-7868-5629-7
Avail as: print & eBook
5 Stars

Riordan fashions a modern tale of the Olympians that will keep you turning the pages with "The Lightning Thief." Percy Jackson is a 6th grader with a lot of problems. Diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia, school isn't easy for him. His step-father is barely civil to him. Then there's a horde of monsters who want to kill him. Things only get more complicated when he discovers he's a son of Poseidon.

Percy is not invited back to his school, so his mother takes him down to the coast to spend some quality time with him. Unfortunately, their time together is ruined when monsters attack. Percy's mom hurries to get him to Camp Half-Blood where he'll be protected, but not before she disappears.

At the camp, Percy meets his old teacher, Chiron, and learns he's a demigod - a half blood, son of a mortal woman and the god Poseidon. A part of him is thrilled to finally find a place where he belongs with friends, Luke, Annabeth, and Grover. A part of his is sad over the loss of his mother.

After visiting the oracle, Percy's given a quest. Zeus' lightning bolt has been stolen. Zeus holds his brothers, Poseidon and Hades responsible. Percy must discover who has stole the bolt and why. His journey takes him across America with Annabeth and Grover. Will Percy embrace his heritage as Poseidon's son, or will he turn his back on the Olympians?

Riodan's writing is crisp and sharp, engaging the reader from the get-go. His creativity shines, giving the Greek gods a unique, modern spin that allows them to relate to young readers while fueling their curiosity about Greek mythology.

Riodan uses a good economy of words to paint vivid pictures of his settings. The plot never lingers, moving at a brisk pace while holding the reader's attention.

The main characters are interesting and complex, each having to face their problems. Percy can channel a lot of power as Poseidon's son, but he must learn to tame his emotions so he can grow as a hero. Annabeth craves her father's love, but finds it difficult to fit into his world as Athena's daughter. Grover wants nothing more than to prove himself worthy to receive a seeker's license, but the path his must take challenges his courage and bravery.

What I enjoyed most was watching Percy grow as a character. He's got a good heart, but unless his traits are channeled in a positive way, he'll never discover his true potential, and that's a message middle school children can relate to.

"The Lightning Thief" is well written, riveting, and full of action that will take young readers on the adventure of a lifetime.

Reviewed by: S. Burkhart

StephB is an author who likes to read many books and a variety of different genres. StephB is an author at http://www.Writing.Com/ which is a site for Creative Writing.

Book Review: A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L'Engle

How do I begin writing a review of a book that tackles a subject a cannot fully comprehend? Mathematics and physics, anyone? But, I am getting ahead of myself.

I first encountered the word tesseract while browsing Goodreads and chanced upon Alex Garland's novel, The Tesseract. (Yes, the Alex Garland who is the author of the infamous book, The Beach.) I was totally intrigued with The Tesseract, not because of the tesseract concept per se, but because of the Philippine setting, particularly Manila. Presently, however, I can no longer recall what the story of The Tesseract was all about after I read it some two years ago. I am sure, though, that there was no description there of what a teserract is (or did I just miss it?). This time, with Madeleine L' Engle's A Wrinkle In Time, there was an explanation of what this term means, except that I think I do not totally get the concept.

A Wrinkle In Time was first published in 1967 by American author, Madeleine L" Engle (1918-2007), and won numerous awards, one of which was the prestigious Newbery Medal - an award given to a particular book for its distinguished contribution to American literature for children.

Given that A Wrinkle In Time has won the Newbery Medal, I was expecting a children's story that is a quick and easy read; but lo, and behold, this book makes huge demands on the imagination. I, in all of my thirty years, cannot still fully grasp what a teserract is. Add to that my very unsatisfactory comprehension with mathematics, physics, and geometry. This is not to say that I did not like the book. I TOTALLY LOVED IT! I loved it because it has made me think. It was amazing, in a literal way, because my mind until now is still processing the concept of a tesseract. Too bad, the explanation in the book entails some mathematical computations, and what little skill I have with numbers unfortunately does not include the book's demands. Sigh.

Still, I was amazed with how Miss L'Engle crafted her characters and weaved her plot, encompassing not only time travel but space travel as well. Of course, time and space travel stories are not entirely new to me, but considering that the book was published almost 50 years ago, A Wrinkle In Time has exceeded my expectations of "old" books like this. Madeleine L' Engle is indeed one amazing writer.

What surprised me while reading this book are the Biblical quotes. Considering that this book is categorized as science fiction, Christian themes are not lost in it. In fact, strong biblical allusions are prevailing in the story. I love that the primary theme of the story is love - a theme that is not actually new in most children's books but compelling, nonetheless.

A Wrinkle In Time wraps up so beautifully in the end, though a bit mushy. But then anything lovely is mushy, don't you think?

I am surprised that this is just the first of a series of other books because standing alone, A Wrinkle In Time is one excellent book. I am not under the compulsion yet of completing all the books in the series, but maybe sometime in the future I'll pick up her other books, when my brain is again ready for some wild, out-of-this-world calisthenics.

5 stars.

The Top 7 Great Reasons to Use EBooks for Kids

An eBook is a book in an electronic format that is downloaded to a computer, laptop or PDA. It looks exactly like a book and has numbered pages, pictures, graphics and a table of contents. As the world becomes obsessed with electronic gadgets, eBooks are gaining popularity amongst adults and children.

Most kids love to play video and computer games, so introducing them to the world of eBooks should be a simple progression. Children love interacting on the computer and they can do this while reading an eBook. This allows them to see books in a totally new light.

eBooks can be books that your children read on their own, or they may be books that you read aloud to them together. They can be found in novel format, fiction, non-fiction and animated picture books. There are also a number of online book sites to open the world of reading to your child at an early age. The following are seven great reasons to use eBooks for kids.

1) Introduces Them to the World of Technology - Reading an eBook allows you to teach your child how to utilize today's technology. Kids are obsessed with electronic gadgets and will be thrilled to learn how to use the keyboard. This is also an excellent way to give your kids a head start and prepare them for entering school.

2) Colorful Display and Pictures
- eBooks for kids promotes learning through its vibrant colorful and picture display on the computer. It also holds their interest for a longer period of time.

3) Click on a Link
- eBooks provide links to additional information and is an excellent tool for added learning. If they are unsure of a word or would like to learn more information, they can click on the link and gain additional knowledge. This is an excellent way to make learning fun.

4) Save a Tree - You can teach your child the importance of saving the environment by utilizing ebooks. The books are downloaded safely to your computer and cutting down trees is not a requirement to manufacture a book.

5) eBooks for Kids Can Be Read Anywhere
- If you and your child find yourselves with unexpected free time, an eBook can come in handy. This is especially true if your eBooks are downloaded to a PDA and you can carry it with you at all times. eBooks are an excellent way to keep your child occupied with entertaining educational materials and not seek out mischief.

6) Indestructible - Traditional books can tatter, fade and tear. eBooks for kids can last for decades and be passed down from generation to generation. They are also easily transported and shared with others.

7) No Waiting - eBooks for kids can be delivered almost immediately. You can show your kids how easy it is to purchase an eBook, download it and begin to read it within a matter of minutes. You don't have to go to the bookstore or wait for them to arrive in the mail either.

Reading to children at an early age benefits them into adulthood. eBooks for kids will help keep them interested in reading. This will also help them be better equipped during their job seeking years and have a brighter outlook for their future.

I'm Sally Sweet from Bloomington, IL. I have a bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Development & Family Relations and have owned a child care business since 1993. During this time, I have written several children's books and am now sharing them online.

Please visit Sally Sweet's eBooks for Kids to learn about the awesome benefits of using eBooks and to view my current eBooks for kids titles. Here's a direct link to my very first and most popular eBook titled "Larry Had a Little Monkey":

Children's Literature - Forgotten Gems

Review and Thoughts on Lark Rise to Candleford by Flora Thompson

I usually like to read fantasy adventures that include magic and mysteries. This book has its own kind of magic and mystery...

Flora Thompson gives many details of what it was like to live in a small, (very small) hamlet. She tells about her family and the way families did things back in this time.

In the late 1800's life was so much different than it is now and life in England was extraordinarily different than it was in America at that time. Flora Thompson paints a vivid picture of the time and place with her words. She doesn't really tell a story she simply tells how things were and some things that happened to her as a young girl.

You can't read this book thinking you will get a story because it really has no plot just lovely information.

It's absolutely worth reading...

Review and Thoughts on The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde

I love this story! I have asked several people lately if they have read it and have received the same answer, no... I don't understand? They had never even heard of it!

It's a great adventure story with intrigue and mystery. A family inherits an old house that has a ghost. Once they sort out that the ghost is real they have to sort out how to get rid of it. It's not really a scary story even though it has a ghost.

The ghost made a terrible mistake and has lived (or whatever you call it) with that terrible mistake for many years. I'm not going to give the whole story away but it has a great mystery and lots of excitement in it.

There have been several movies made with the story one of them even has Sir Patrick Stewart in it. I would recommend it if you want to watch the story instead of reading it.

Both these books give me much inspiration for some stories I want to write in the future. I love to find old stories that have the energy these two books have. They can transport you to a different place and time and show you things you never thought of. They can also give you a new perspective on what you thought you knew or believed. There is so much hype these days about how books have to be best sellers or by a certain author or whatever... back in the time both these books were written it was different, it just had to be good writing or a good story. These books may not have been published if they had been written today and what a loss that would have been!

I think sometimes stories can become forgotten gems... these two have.

Julie L. Worthington is a writer of fantasy adventure and science-fiction middle-grade and young adult books along with short stories. She is passionate about children's literature both old and new. To find out more or to read some of her work go to

Book Review: Pretty Dolls, by Kimberly Dana

Pretty Dolls by Kimberly Dana, a finalist in the Children's Picture Book category at the 2011 Pacific Northwest Writers Association Literary Contest, is a delightful story about overcoming jealousy and the love a girl can share with her special doll, no matter what she looks like.

Little Tasha has several dolls, but her favorites are Emily-Nicole and Gracie. Emily-Nicole is the most beautiful of all, with porcelain skin, silky red hair and turquoise-blue eyes. She spends most of her days perched on the top bookshelf case with the other beautiful dolls. Unlike Emily-Nicole, Gracie has tufts of brown hair (from when Tasha played hairdresser), purple eyes (from when she played artist), and a missing arm. She's not at all beautiful like Emily-Nicole. But Tasha loves her because she's the snuggliest of all and that's why she always carries her around.

Unbeknown to Tasha, once she's deeply sound asleep in the quiet of the night, Emily-Nicole, jealous of Tasha and Gracie's closeness, starts making fun of Gracie and calling her cruel names. The other pretty dolls giggle and together they mock:

"Pretty eyes and pretty hair. We're the best dolls anywhere. If you were a pretty doll, you'd be up here standing tall."

Night after night the banter continues. As Emily-Nicole becomes more and more jealous, she turns increasingly cruel. Her heart becomes just as cold and porcelain-like as her beautiful face. Deep inside, though, she suffers. She would like to be the one to snuggle up with Tasha instead of standing on the shelf all day and night. She just can't understand why Tasha prefers Gracie when Gracie is so ugly compared to her.

One day, Tasha's dog Victor charges into the room and rocks the bookshelf back and forth, making Emily-Nicole stumble and fall. He snatches her into his mouth and shakes her, then heaves her into the air and she lands on Tasha's bed... right next to Gracie. Will the other dolls help Emily-Nicole or will Gracie?

Pretty Dolls is an adorable picture book for little girls ages 3 to 8. It is a story about kindness and discovering new friendships. The book offers a valuable and lovely message about what it means to be truly beautiful and about accepting others, even if they look a little different than us. The language is simple and engaging, appropriate for this age group. The illustrations are charming, a splash of color on the pages with a lot of pinks and purples. There's an accompanying audio book included with Pretty Dolls, which can be downloaded for free from the Tate Publishing website and burned onto a CD or saved to a portable device such as an iPod. Recommended.

Author Kimberly Dana is an award-winning English teacher. In addition to writing for children, she also writes for young adults. You can visit her at

Mayra Calvani is an author, reviewer and freelance book publicist. She also offers online workshops on the art of book reviewing and picture book writing. To learn more about her books, workshops and promotional packages for authors, visit her website at

Join her mailing list and receive the free ebook, "Reviewers Talk about Their Craft," as well as the first lesson of her Slippery Art of Book Reviewing Workshop.

It Has Begun

Pink! White! Everywhere! Driving down the country roads of Fresno County in California the scene is filled with living color. Various tones of pink from almost white to bright magenta mingled with the sound of bees as they work tirelessly fill the air. In February each year this beautiful site of color flows across the fruit orchards on the Blossom Trail in the bountiful San Joaquin Valley. Fruit fresh from a tree is luscious, but to have the opportunity to see it appear as a bud, grow to a blossom and finally mature into a piece of fruit is a wonderment indeed.

The low hum is the sound of honey bees working hard collecting nectar to make honey. As they fly from blossom to blossom pollen gathers on their legs and it is scattered to each flower that will later develop into fruit. The Blossom Trail is one of the "show times" of the fruit tree. The orchards have been nurtured, watered and pruned throughout the year and now they are on stage in their glorious gowns of color.

Could this picture of beauty be compared to our daily life? One of the possible parallels to this evolving image of color that flows over the land could be the overall emotions that permeate the scene after we depart. Have we spread joy, sorrow, anger or emptiness as we go through our day. One of the main differences in this comparison is that the honey bees are all spreading the same thing and getting the same results.

A smile is the carrier of joy and happiness that is infectious. It is difficult to frown at a person that is smiling at you. Admittedly there are those that might break their face if they smiled, but the more one smiles the more natural it feels. A smile generates a positive attitude. When I picture my smiling face on a honey bee as greetings are exchanged, that image almost makes me giggle. The amazing thing is that it spreads just like the colorful blossoms across the orchards. I know, that sometimes pain and sadness overwhelms our life and it is at those times we really just want to be alone, but I also know if we can smile it just makes us feel better. A smile gives comfort.

Yes it has begun! Another beautiful array of colorful blossoms flowing across the orchards like watercolor paint on wet paper. Smile on dear friend and begin the flow of acceptance and love to all those that are blessed to cross the fields of your life. And be prepared to tell them what makes you so happy. I am, but that will be for another story.

In my children's storybook series "Ginger Lady Bug's Adventures, The Blossom Trail" twin honey bees Macy and Mallory are portrayed as they gather nectar from blossom to blossom. They are shown in full page watercolor illustrations along with their other friends, The Blues Birds, Nellie Gnat and Ginger Lady Bug playing in the top of the nectarine trees. The story of what an important job honey bees have and some of the products they produce has been integrated into the story of how fruit grows. This is a beautiful story told in a joyful setting that children of all ages can enjoy. The Blossom Trail is an annual event that takes place in February and March. People from all over the world come to see nature in all her glory as color flows over acres of farm land. Paintings and books can be found at

Books For Early Vocabulary Success in Children


Books for children should be selected wisely. It is often said-"Books are our best friends". The true value of books must be taught to children at an early age so that it develops into a habit later. Books for children usually are categorized based on their age groups and interests. They have interesting animated pictures depicting scenes from the stories. Reading not only is good for gaining knowledge, but improves the child's English grammar as well.

Books for children Less than 3 Years

Children less than two years are too young to read and understand words. It would be best if they were made to read books with big colorful pictures and cartoons. Books with pop-up designs are beneficial for the children. They can be taught names of fruits and vegetables through books with colorful drawings. The teacher can read simple short stories about animals or birds to the children. This also enhances their imaginative power. These books should be made of sturdy board pages which they can turn themselves without tearing them or hurting themselves. Books for children can also have predictable texts and easy rhymes. This will improve their pronunciation and understanding of the English language.

Books for Children between ages 4-5

It is necessary to know the interest of the children and give them appropriate books. These children have a longer attention span and can learn a lot when taught with proper skill and technique. Choose books for children with lots of pictures so that it is visually appealing to the kids and they read it with interest. Stories can range from simple to complex, depending on the abilities of the child. It mostly consists of fairy tales and short stories about animals and birds. Books with rhythmic or rhyming text help in introducing the tough grammar to the children. Interactive books for children are very appealing.

Books for children above 6 years

Books for children should not only comprise of basics like rhymes but should also have grammar and mathematics. Books should be separated on the basis of subject. The difficulty level should increase with age as their concentration learning capacity also increases.

Children should be taught to make maximum use of the books available. Books for children should be selected in such a way that the children enjoy learning and thus eventually get into the beneficial habit of regular book reading. This will help the children throughout their life.

I am a fresher currently pursuing a Bachelor degree majoring in Biotechnology. I love writing as it is my passion.

Sam's Desert Adventure, an Outstanding Young Reader Book

Sam's Desert Adventure, by Jonah Arizona, the newest young reader publication by Moonlight Mesa Associates, Inc., is a sure-fire pleaser for young readers in the age range of 7 to 11. Parents will be charmed by the mischievous, endearing Sam Davenport who will remind them of their own childhoods and their own children.

Set in Arizona, the story features a young boy named Sam Davenport and his hilariously acquired mule, Bucket. Sam's older sister, Alice, adds a charming touch to the story, and Sam's elderly neighbor, Mr. Melby, helps develop this tale of youthful adventure and hard-learned lessons.

Despite Sam's engaging appeal, he is an impulsive child with a wild imagination who regularly forgets to consider the consequences of his boyish antics. Sam learns many difficult lessons the summer he acquires Bucket, but he has many exciting adventures in the process. Slowly he grows to understand that actions have consequences and that he must be accountable for those actions.

This story goes beyond Sam's boyish behavior, however, and the author shows a sensitivity and thoughtfulness in the ten-year-old that is deeply touching. Sam's friendship with his elderly neighbor, Mr. Melby, is remarkable, and Sam's compassion for his aging grandparents will tug heart strings. Even his thoughtfulness regarding his sister's feelings will bring a smile.

Not to be forgotten in this story of childhood adventure, growth, and learning, is the book's other main character, Bucket. Sam's mule is unforgettable and perhaps even more charming than Sam himself. The little mule, in her own mulish way, teaches Sam some of the most important lessons he learns. Sam's attachment to, and love for, his mule is tender and stirring. Bucket fills a void in Sam's life since he had to move away from his childhood buddy, and the mule becomes Sam's best friend and constant companion.

Sam's Desert Adventure is filled with humor, warmth, hard-learned lessons, and extremely well-drawn characters. Sam's parents are to be both envied and admired for their patience and understanding in raising a boy who will, no doubt, become a fine young man despite the trials he sometimes presents them with. Though Sam's parents are strict, there is never any doubt that their actions are motivated purely by love for their son. The relationship Sam has with his parents is warm and stable - a model for all given the challenges that Sam sometimes presents.

Highly recommended by MidWest Book Review senior reviewer, Shirley Johnson, Sam's Desert Adventure is a title that will be read again and again by parents and young readers alike.

Barbra Lee, retired teacher and sometime book reviewer.

Sam's Desert Adventure is available from the publisher, Moonlight Mesa Associates, at and from amazon. Retail 9.95. Vendor queries welcomed.

Children's Literature Modern Fairy Tales and Fables - A Review of the Sisters Grimm

What was old is new again! In the book series The Sisters Grimm the writer Michael Buckley has reinvented all the old fairy tales and fables. Sabrina and her sister Daphne Grimm discover a whole new world within their own world as fairy tale and fable characters walk the streets like normal people in the town where their grandmother lives.

There are eight books out so far with the ninth one due out in May. The adventure starts out with the two sisters becoming orphans when their parents suddenly go missing. After a few foster homes they are sent to live with a grandmother they never knew they had. This is when they learn the family secret, the family business and the family legacy. They are descendants of the original Grimm brothers who wrote all those old fairy tales which turn out to be real stories. Their grandmother teaches them how to be detectives, that's the family business, and how to solve the mysteries they encounter on a daily basis.

I don't want to give too much of the story away for those of you who haven't read the books (I do have a tendency to do that) but the sisters have many adventures and nearly get killed several times. The Big Bad Wolf is their grandmother's best friend and body guard, Snow White is a teacher in the school they attend she also teaches a self defense class which includes martial arts, Prince Charming is the Mayor of the town (for a while), the Three Little Pigs are the sheriff and deputies in the town (for a while), Puck (the trickster king) is their grandmother's adopted grandson, the Scarecrow (from the Wizard of Oz) is the town librarian and Robin Hood is a lawyer!

• Book 1 - Fairy Tale Detectives
• Book 2 - The Unusual Suspects
• Book 3 - The Problem Child
• Book 4 - Once Upon a Crime
• Book 5 - Magic and Misdemeanors
• Book 6 - Tales From the Hood
• Book 7 - The Everafter War
• Book 8 - The Inside Story
• Book 9 - (Due out in May 2012) The Council of Mirrors

The reading level for these books is listed as age eight and up or third grade and up. I'm glad they put the up because I love them and I'm up there pretty far. These are great books for young readers and the rest of us because they allow us to get swept up in fun adventures and really enjoy reading children's literature. These are fun, the story is easy to keep up with and the characters are really well done!

Julie L. Worthington is a writer of fantasy adventure and science-fiction middle-grade and young adult books along with short stories. She is passionate about children's literature both old and new. To find out more or to read some of her work go to

Plunked by Michael Northrop - Youth Baseball, Self-Confidence, and Elementary School-Aged Challenges

Jack Mogens is a sixth grader at Tall Pines Elementary School. It's late March as he begins his sixth season playing Little League baseball for the Tall Pines Braves.

Jack gets "plunked" on the side of his head while batting on Opening Day. The hit shakes his confidence to the point where he's now afraid of inside pitches.

Compounding Jack's challenge is the "revenge pitch" he takes during the team's following practice. His nemesis, Kurt "Malfoy" Beacham, heard him talking smack about him in school; and throws a pitch, hitting him in the ribs.

Nightmares haunt Jack, where a faceless pitcher is throwing balls at him, while glued to the batter's box. His anxiety builds, forcing him to feign injury to avoid playing in next weekend's game.

"Family emergency" is Jack's excuse as to why he missed Saturday's competition. His teammates and buddies aren't buying it in the cafeteria Monday morning. Jack finds his deceptions becoming harder to conceal.

Depressed, Jack unexpectedly coins the phrase, "open to mopin" when Andy Rossiter, (his best friend since second grade) questions his attitude.

Andy helps Jack save face with his buddies after missing Saturday's game. Their ultimate connection occurs at the Tall Pines Family Pharmacy while thumbing through comic books.

In an awkward moment of silence and avoided eye contact, Jack knows he owes Andy an explanation why he missed Saturday's game. When Andy asks, he exposes himself emotionally and admits his fear of getting hit by the ball. Andy affirms his feelings by responding, "Everyone is a little scared of the ball sometimes." It's a poignant display of emotions between two boys; not often encouraged in today's society.

Northrop has a talent for crafting narrative relatable to middle school-aged children: "but don't even pretend you've never faked a fever or blamed the cat for breaking something or anything like that. Don't even pretend to pretend." He also addresses doing homework and riding the school bus: "Right on cue, the bus pulls up, and its doors open. Shut up and get in it says."

Jack enjoys a loving relationship with his parents. They attend all of his games; and watch Major League Baseball together at home.

Even so, he sometimes frets over their parental control. Regarding his computer access: "Mom and dad have so many filters on this thing, it's a wonder anything gets through. Like St. Paul the Apostle could send me a personal email telling me to study hard, and it would end up in the spam folder."

Collecting Major League Baseball cards with his father is one of the duo's favorite pastimes. Viewing his dad's most prize-possessed rookie card, Cal Ripken, Jr., Jack shamefully realizes that Ripken Jr. would never fear inside pitches or let his team down. Baseball bobbleheads, a row of baseballs, and a big poster from the Baseball Hall of Fame in Jack's bedroom also provide him an a-ha moment.

Jack's emerging sexuality is evident in his awareness of the team's shortstop, Katie Bowes: "She glances up and I look down fast. I don't think she saw."

What kid doesn't have a favorite pet that's part of their being? Jack has his in Nax, a black Labrador retriever. Nax sleeps at the foot of Jack's bed; and knows when he's happy or upset.

Baseball language complements Plunked, including "ducks on the pond" (two men on base with two outs).

Well-written literature transcends time. The release of Plunked this March however, complements the start of Little League and Major League Baseball, making it an ideal read for any sports-minded kid.

If you're an educator looking to assign, or suggest a book for your middle school-aged boys, Plunked is it. If you're a parent anticipating your child's summer reading assignment, or support reading in your kids (especially boys), you'll hit a home run with Plunked.

To view excellent literature, written for grade school children and young adults, including author interviews and give-aways, visit:

Timothy Zaun is a blogger, speaker and freelance writer. Visit him online at

Important Tips for Publishing a Children's Book

The task of finding a publisher for your book can be daunting. Even J.K. Rowling, the highly acclaimed author of the Harry Potter books, received many rejections before achieving her phenomenal success. To circumvent the publisher problem, you may wish to consider publishing a children's book yourself. This route can be a very profitable one, providing you know what you're doing.

As soon as you start to investigate the possibility of self-publishing you will find yourself surrounded by apparent offers to assist. There are hundreds of companies only too ready to part you from your cash, and charge you a very high price indeed for publishing your work. Known as "vanity publishers", these organizations are out to make high profits - for themselves, not you!

As a self-publisher, your best option is to simply choose a regular, commercial printing company to carry out your work. You should fully investigate the market and choose a company that offers competitive prices. By following this route you will have full control of the process, and can make your own decisions about quality of materials and finish.

By using a mainstream printing company to assist you in publishing a children's book you will be able to retain full copyright to your work. There will be no requirement for you to sign a contract with the printer in this respect. This leaves you free to take all the profits from sales of your work, and also at liberty to use another printer, should you so wish, for any future reprints of your book.

It's important that you are fully aware of the work involved in publishing a children's book yourself. You must be prepared to take responsibility for all aspects of the process such as editing and proofreading. Also there will be important decisions to make on layout, font size, typefaces, bindings and so on. The level of involvement is considerable, but perhaps this is something you will in fact relish.

Providing you choose a printing company with a good reputation and high standards of customer care, these additional tasks need not be overtaxing. Ensure your children's book printing company is prepared to offer plenty of guidance, and that you can easily contact them for updates and clarifications.

Lastly, I'd like to touch on the subject of ISBNs. International Standard Book Numbers are unique 13 digit identifiers and enable books to be ordered and tracked in a commercial distribution network. If you are planning to handle sales of your children's book yourself, by selling directly in person or through a website, it's not necessary to have an ISBN.

Lesley Carr has a wealth of advice and tips for aspiring writers, including how to find inspiration for your work, getting your draft manuscript into shape, and how to manage your route into self-publishing. She works closely with to assist authors with getting their work into print.

Mother and Son Write New Children's Book Series Beginning With "Monsters Below"

Laura Wharton, author of "Leaving Lukens," and her ten-year old son, Will, have written the first of a planned series of children's novels titled "Mystery at the Lake House." In this first book, "Monsters Below," we are introduced to Jock Avery, who has just finished fourth grade and is about to spend the summer with his grandparents at their home on Longleaf Lake. Jock is further excited when he learns his grandparents have new neighbors, including two children, Lynna, also ten years old, and her younger brother, Chip, age seven.

Spending the summer on a lake would be ideal for any boy or girl, but Chip, who once visited Loch Ness and claims to have seen its monster, is convinced that there is a monster in Longleaf Lake, and while Jock refuses to believe it is the Loch Ness Monster, when he starts hearing strange sounds coming from across the lake, he starts to wonder what could be causing them.

Soon Jock, Chip, and Lynna decide to investigate the mysterious noise. It seems to be coming from the direction of Mr. Harrison's house and his cove, and considering that Jock's grandfather says Mr. Harrison likes to keep to himself and was once in prison, Mr. Harrison appears to be the obvious culprit. When Mr. Harrison tries to chase Jock and Lynna with his boat when they are out sailing, and they also see him dumping something mysterious into the lake, they believe they have enough evidence to investigate further, including sneaking onto Mr. Harrison's property.

The Whartons excel at providing great cliffhanger moments at the end of each chapter, and here's one of them:

Jock and Lynna looked out at the lake in the direction Chip was pointing. The silhouette of a man in a rowboat was difficult to see that far out on the water without binoculars in the growing darkness. "It's a little too late to be fishing," Jock agreed.
"Maybe he's just out for a moonlit boat ride," Lynna offered.
"There's no moon out tonight," Jock countered. "Too much cloud cover."
Just then, they heard a loud ker-splash followed a moment later by an eerie screeching sound. Chip screamed, "He's feeding the monster!"

Full of fun adventure, and all the joys of summer-from bike riding to sailing, bird watching to Grandmother's baked goodies, and good books for the characters to read, "Monsters Below" will be enjoyed by boys and girls alike, and adults will find it a pleasant way to recall their own childhoods or share in the adventure by reading it aloud to their children.

A few notable features that make this book unique are that Jock enjoys reading adventure books called the "Sam Justice" series, so readers are given snippets of those books as Jock imagines himself acting like the hero of that series, providing stories within the larger story. The book also includes a bird watching checklist, the kids' favorite recipes, a diagram to teach children about the different parts of sailboats, and an interview with ten year old author Will Wharton about how his mother and he wrote the book. Finally, a preview is provided of the next book in the series, "The Mermaid's Tale," soon to be released. I can't wait to hear how the mermaid is explained!

Tyler R. Tichelaar holds a Bachelor's and Master's Degree from Northern Michigan University and a Ph.D. from Western Michigan University. His family's long relationship with Upper Michigan and his avid interest in genealogy inspired Dr. Tichelaar to write his Marquette Trilogy: Iron Pioneers, The Queen City, and Superior Heritage. Dr. Tichelaar is also a professional book reviewer and editor. For more information about Tyler R. Tichelaar, his writing, and his author services, visit:

The Benefit of Author Visits for Children Authors

It was an early spring morning and a young child author and her father visited a local grade school to discuss their chapter book. Three hundred and fifty students waited eagerly to discuss the book they had all read in their classes the prior weeks. Two grades at a time piled into the lunchroom for three separate sessions. This school visit was the first such occurrence for the father-daughter writing duo and they were not sure what to expect. It was quite a surprise how it ended.

After brief introductions of themselves and the story, the event opened up into question and answer sessions. The students came prepared with not only the typical questions of "why did you write this story" and "how did you come up with the character names", but also deeper inquiries that immediately let the authors know the students were fully engaged with the storyline.

At one point, a student asked a question about a dragonfly in the story. The father looked around the audience and asked the children to say the name of the character and they all screamed "Rainbow", and smiled. It was the first time the authors heard such a resounding recognition of their work, and they then realized that this event, which they initially thought of as an offering for the benefit of the students, held equally as much for themselves.

The event wrapped up as the last group of students went back to their classes. One teacher left a folder with the authors filled with sheets of paper. Each student from the first grade class had all written, as well as first graders can write, letters to the authors to thank them for their time and other special comments about the book. The details in these letters were all wonderful, but one comment was not so expected. As the young child author eagerly flipped through the papers once back at her house, remembering herself how it was to write such notes four years earlier, she set one aside and said "this is my favorite." She read to her mother and father the following words from that special note: "Mae - I love your book. It is amazing. You inspire me to write. I am starting my own adventure story now. Thank you so much!" Her co-author father turned away to wipe a small tear from his eye.

The writing duo started the project to bring their story to life, and for the father to show his daughter the importance of sticking with something, not giving up, and acting on your passions. He thought that seeing the book in a book store and knowing it was placed in different dinosaur museums was the light at the end of the tunnel. Weeks and months had transpired and they finally scheduled this first author visit at this school. The light in his daughter's eyes upon reading those words from the first grader truly marked the completion of this journey - at least this part of the journey. That is what they had been working for but not really known early on how incredible that experience could be.

In the few weeks since that visit, the writing duo were fully motivated and worked through the first several chapters of their next book - now book number two of a series that will continue, with many planned author visits.

The lesson to all is that the benefit of your hard work and perseverance may not always be what you expect. Open your minds, follow your passions, share and collaborate with others, and do everything you can to expand and invigorate our next generation of authors, teachers, scientists, etc. The rewards will come, and may be as simple as a smile or a letter from a first grade student.

John Dolbey lives in the Midwest with his wife and daughter. He began feeding his daughter's deep fascination of dinosaurs with countless bedtime and drive-to-school adventure stories. The creation of Iggy, Guana, and Dawn is the result of years of collaborative character building. John's first book, Sunrise Over Fire Rock Field, is a tribute to his daughter, her love of dinosaurs, and those adventurous iguanodon siblings. John and his daughter are still telling stories and coming up with new journeys for Iggy and his sisters.

Please visit us at

New Children's E-Book Review

If you have children, then you have probably read more than your share of books. Those of us, who read to our kids, can see the wonderful results that investment returns. There are lots of good reasons to read your children stories. It sparks their imaginations. It calms them down at bedtime. It establishes a pattern of reading when the children are most impressionable.

As a general rule, reading early in life translates to kids wanting to read later in life. I'm not sure if there have been scientific research on this, but from personal experience, I can confirm this presumption. All of my siblings read to their children and all of them love to read. The friends we have that read to their children all have children who love to read; while those who didn't read to their kids find their children are less than enthusiastic.

I was not read to as a child. Not surprisingly, I didn't start enjoy reading until I was married with children. I'm still very particular about the books I read for myself and I'm in my forties.

When should you read to them? In my experience, we read to our kids from the very start. Once they could hold their heads up by themselves, we started reading to them. Mainly before naps and bedtime. But as they grew up, we found ourselves reading to them on the floor while they were playing.

Something about the undulating tone of reading a children's book was soothing to our kids. They always played better when we were reading from a book. It also helped calm them down before going to sleep.

Which books should you read? Wow, that's a good question. There are literally tons of great books out there. Talk to your family and friends about which books they liked. Some of our favorites were the classics like Curious George, Tumble Bumble, Goodnight Moon, and any book by Sandra Boyton. Sadly, there are a lot of poorly written books too. A quick glance through the book will let you know if it's a keeper.

In this review, we're going to look at a new eBook series destined to become a classic, written by Emma Ward. Ms. Ward says she is a stay at home mom who understands the challenges of parenting. It appears the new series, known as "The Adventures of Bob and Joe", was written with that very view in mind.

Her books are grounded in family values. Looking out for each other, putting aside selfishness, and pitching in to help are all themes that run through her new "Bob and Joe" book series. Here's the main premise: Bob and Joe are identical twin turtles who like to have racing adventures. Basically, they'll race anyone, anytime, any place. The setting is primarily a pond, found in a deep forest of oak trees. They venture out for some other adventures, but as you'd expect, the turtles stay pretty close to home most of the time.

There are a host of characters that help Bob and Joe teach the kids a great lesson. My favorite is a squirrel named Sammy who can't get enough acorns.

There are six "Bob and Joe" ebooks published on Amazon, along with a complete collection eBook that includes all six stories. The titles are as follows...

1. Bob and Joe in Our First Race
2. Bob and Joe in Abandon Ship
3. Bob and Joe in The Chariot Race
4. Bob and Joe in Photo Finish
5. Bob and Joe in The Serious Badger
6. Bob and Joe in Skating with Penguins
7. The Complete Adventures of Bob and Joe, Volume 1

These books seem to only be available on Amazon. The price is reasonable at $0.99 for each individual book and $4.99 for the complete collection. So download them to your Kindle or other reading app. and enjoy reading them to your children.

I have included a link to the author page here in Amazon. This is a new book to Amazon (published in April 2012), so there aren't a lot of reviews yet. But don't let that stop you from downloading them, trust me, your kids will enjoy following the characters from one race to another.

Our next review will be Bullfrog Pops, Kindle edition.

Top 5 Types of Activity Books For Young Children

Activity books are a great way to make reading fun. There are lots of different types of activity books available to suit different age groups. Here we have selected our top 5.

1.Texture Books
Texture, also known as touch and feel books, are very popular with babies and very young children. These are books where part of the picture is made out of different fabrics and materials. Babies like the tactile aspect of the pages and love to touch the pictures while the story is being read to them. This type of book will also help develop the childs sensory awareness.

2. Lift the Flap Books
These are story books which usually have flaps to lift on every page It is a classic book format that children love. Lifting the flaps adds to the fun of the story and will make story time a more interactive event. These books are usually aimed at younger children from babies up to the age of about 4 or 5. When choosing a lift the flap book look for books with a sturdy feel and strong flaps. The flaps will get pulled and tugged at and if they are not attached securely or are not made out of thick cardboard, they wont last long.

3. Sound Books
Sound books are popular with pre-school children. They usually have one or more buttons to press which made noises or sounds appropriate to the story. The more elaborate sound books will have different sounds that need to played at the correct part of the story. Like the lift the flap books, they add an interactive element to reading your child a story.

4. Pop-up Books

Pop-up baby books are books that have been designed where part of the page leaps out as a 3D picture. The surprise of the 3D picture will intrigue babies and delight older children. The only downside is that pop-up books tend to be delicate so you will have to be careful as young children do love to touch. You can choose quite simple pop-up books for young children but there are plenty of more intricate and even interactive pop-up books which will be suitable for much older children.

5. Sticker Books
Sticker books come in a variety of formats. Some tell a story which can be decorated or added to by a selection of stickers. Others tell a story with specific places where each sticker should be place. Which book will appeal to your child will depend on their personality. some children will love the challenge of finding the right places to stick the stickers. Other children will want to be more creative and place stickers where they want. There is no right or wrong and both ways are good for a child's development and enjoyment.

Courage and Determination in Children's Books

Per ardua ad astra ("Through adversity to the stars" or "Through struggle to the stars") this congratulatory encouragement was sent to me from a friend recently for an accomplishment that I have to admit I was proud of. I believe this phrase would be a great mantra, the Royal Air force and a few other organizations use it so why not the rest of us!

We have many challenges to face here in this world we live in, so we should face them with the attitude of courage and determination. Having said all that I have some children's books that do just that! They have heroes (or heroines) that face challenges with courage and determination sometimes they don't know they are being courageous or determined but they are.

· Michelle Paver's series Wolf Brother is one big adventure and has both a hero and a heroin that has much courage and determination. This is one of my all time favorite book series!

· Jenny Nimmo's Charlie Bone series is also great for adventure and challenges. This hero has some magical gifts that help him along with some friends who have some magical gifts as well.

· Michael Buckley's Sisters Grimm is a good adventure with loads of challenges, okay one of the heroin's whines a lot but it's still really good. I love the fact that he uses old fairy tales and legends to populate the town the girls live in.

· Rick Riodan's Percy Jackson series is also great for adventure. Bringing those Greek Gods down a peg or two is always good!

· The American Girl series (by various writers) is so cool! They always have great adventures that could have really happened. These girls are good examples of courage and determination! Sorry but I can't pick a favorite because every time I think I have a favorite I find another!

· J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series almost goes without saying! And yes the books are way better than the movies!

With so many children's literary agents and publishers calling for horror manuscripts I'm afraid we may miss out on some really great adventures. I hear so much from agents who only want horror till it makes me wonder if that's all that's going to be available to children in the future? So I'm glad we have some good ones already out there to enjoy! I'm not completely against horror but we do need a balance.

I love to read good children's literature! I especially love to read great adventure whether it is magical or not. I also like to have many choices to pick from, if we have only horror printed in the future I will be re-reading a lot of my old favorites till the agents and publishers wise up.

Happy reading! I hope you find many great adventures and examples of courage and determination that will inspire you in your own lives!

Julie L. Worthington is a writer of fantasy adventure and science-fiction middle-grade and young adult books along with short stories. She is passionate about children's literature both old and new. To find out more or to read some of her work go to

Activity Books for Little Ones Certainly Are a God Send Throughout the Summer Break

The most challenging task on the planet is to make sure that your kids are kept occupied with either after school activities or activity books for children in the house. Meanwhile with the summer break coming parents may need several activity solutions up their sleeve so as to provide themselves with some respite from their over-active children.

For parents or guardians everywhere the day won't conclude at the sound of the school bell as children are going to want to paint more pictures, play more games and sing more songs. Keeping your kids safe and content after the school day has finished can generate problems yet with after school activities and sticker and activity books at home we've got the entire predicament sewn up!

Parents who work have the biggest problems as normally they aren't present in the home when the children finish school.

Although not to be mistaken as a baby sitting service, after school activities are a lifeline for working mums and dads everywhere. That being said, these activities can only do well if parents become involved also. For instance, occasionally parents or guardians could possibly assist with the making of outfits or maybe the painting of scenery for a school play. If your youngster was a member of a sports team, what would their game be like without the benefit of parents supporting them on the sidelines?

Although kids with working parents need to be looked after, there's no point in making your young kids participate in activities that may not interest them or they are not skilled at because it keeps them out of harms way. Talk to them, get to know what interests them and thereafter start looking around for the right after school classes which they are able to really enjoy whilst also generating new skills.

If you are a stay-at-home mum or dad and pick up your kids each day from the school door then you have to try and keep them entertained for far longer. With the aid of activity books for children and after completion of their homework assignments, one can sit them down and let them draw or paint a really colourful picture, solve puzzles or put together a jigsaw puzzle.

At home activities needn't always be stationary hobbies though. Young ones can play things like football, tennis or basketball in the garden. Not all kids are sporty and will much prefer to take dance lessons or discover how to play a musical instrument - however these kinds of classes invariably have a price! They may also pass the time by assisting with activities in the kitchen or garden - under the attentive eye of the parent or sitter obviously!

Whatever activity your little ones desire to do, they shall acquire a number of life skills such as discipline, patience and self-control.

In case finances are a concern there are lots of discount children's books online that you could select from and which will not break the bank. There is a wide range of kid's books available that can help them to discover how to read, further their reading skills or to educate and stimulate them in some other way. Just because they're educational books doesn't necessarily mean that a lot of them can't be fun!

For more activity books for children and all other reading requirements please browse our many diverse categories of books. Buy books online in all formats and at the cheapest prices from

Book Review for: Sea of Monsters

Book Review for: "Sea of Monsters"
Percy Jackson and Olympians Book 2
Written by: Rick Riordan
Hyperion Books
ISBN: 0-7868-5686-6
Avail: as print & eBook
5 Stars

Reviewed by: S. Burkhart

Riordan pens a story stuffed with action, adventure, and myths with "Sea of Monsters." When the tree that guards Camp Half Blood is poisoned and Chiron accused of the deed, Percy and his friends must find the golden fleece to save the camp, but will Luke stand in their way?

The story opens with Percy having a decent year at school, but as summer approaches, Percy finds himself befriending Tyson, an odd teenager to say the least. After Percy is attacked at school, he learns that Tyson is a cyclops and Camp Half Blood is under siege. Thalia, the tree that guards the camp is dying. Chiron is blamed and banished. Percy makes it back to the camp where he discovers the golden fleece can save the camp, but unfortunately, Percy's friend, Grover, is being held captive by the cyclops that guards the fleece. Percy demands to go on a quest.

Tantalus, the new camp director, refuses to let Percy go. Instead, he sends Clarisse, Ares' daughter, to visit the Oracle. Clarisse is thrilled. Percy is bummed. He goes to hang out on the shore near the water where he's approached by Hermes, the messenger of the gods. Hermes encourages Percy to seek out Grover and the fleece despite it being Clarisse's quest. With Annabeth and Tyson by his side, and equipped for anything with a couple of gifts from Hermes, Percy is off. His first stop - the cruise ship Princess Andromeda where Luke is hiding. Percy soon learns nothing is what it seems when he discovers Kronus on the ship. Can Percy recover the fleece in time to save the camp?

Riodan's writing is crisp and easy to read. The plot flows well. Riodan uses a good economy of words to paint vivid pictures without lingering. The dialogue adds a nice authenticity to the story.

What I enjoyed about the story was how Riodan has made the Greek myths and heroes appealing to today's younger audience. Percy and his friends have incredible powers, yet they move easily within the modern world. Heck, even Hermes has updated his looks with a jogging suit.

The most rewarding part was the characterization. Percy shows a burgeoning maturity as he comes to care and protect Tyson. Tyson's loyalty is admirable and Annabeth, as well as Clarisse, show true strength and courage.

Riodan takes the reader on Percy's adventures through the sea of monsters and leaves them biting their nails. The ending had me on the edge of my seat, wanting more.

"Sea of Monsters" is a fine sequel to "The Lightning Thief." I highly recommend it for young readers in 4th grade on up. The story's sense of adventure will resonate with readers long after they finish.

StephB is an author who likes to read many books and a variety of different genres. StephB is an author at http://www.Writing.Com/ which is a site for Creative Writing.

Value Of Books In Character Development In Children

Reading is a fun and interactive way to bond with kids. Experts recommend reading a good book to a young child every day. It is usually done before a child goes to sleep. It is an excellent way to end the day as it leaves the kid's imagination flowing with wonderful thoughts. Moreover, reading books to children aloud can help cultivate creativity and expand vocabulary and reading skills. Children are curious beings and they love to hear new stories, see beautiful pictures and illustrations. Parents use books to help their children develop good character traits like courage, kindness and obedience.

Story Telling Books Mold Character

Stories have been an important part of man's life. Before, stories were passed on by word of mouth. Now, there are so many kinds of books available, thanks to the invention of the printing press in 1440. Story telling books today ranges from fairy tales, princess and prince books, fables, parables, folklore and so on. Millions of parents around the globe still use these story books to teach moral lessons to their little ones. Goldilocks and the three bears and Little Red Riding Hood are two of the most popular books of all time. These books teach kids different values which are applicable to all aspects of life. Goldilocks and the three bears talks about respect of others property and privacy. Little Red Riding Hood, on the other hand warns children of the danger of talking to strangers.

Fables And Parables

Parables illustrate life lessons and instructive principles. The Bible's New Testament provides a number of parables that Jesus taught himself while he is still on earth. One of the most significant parables in the bible is the Prodigal Son, which teaches about the love of the Father to his children. Fables, on the other hand, are very much like a parable but the difference is that it uses animals in the story. Aesop is credited for a number of popular fables today. Thus, the name Aesop's Fables become a popular household name. Aesop, according to research was Greek slave and story-teller believed to have lived between 620 and 560 BC. Some of his famous stories are "The Dog and the Wolf", which teaches the importance of being free, "The Bear and the Two Travelers" which talks about sincerity of friends.

Evolution Of Books

For years, books have greatly evolved. Before, books are part of every kid's bedtime routine. Children anticipate eagerly the first page of the book that their parents will read to them. Each book has a new story to tell. Children are intrigued to see how each story will end. Will the princess meet his prince charming? Will the frog turn to a handsome prince? On the other hand, with the advancement of technology, some children are no longer accustomed of having good books around the house. More parents and educators rely on the power of the internet to teach young minds to explore. Yes, having educational other educational materials and gadgets around the house is good. Then again, it is refreshing to see kids enjoying reading books. Certainly, the experience of feeling the hard covers of the book and the crisp turning of pages is different from just clicking on pages.

Though, books have evolved in form, it is still relevant today. Parents and educators alike still use books as part of instruction and grounding materials for development of moral and character to children.

Children picture books are fun and exciting. Visit the links and read different children reading articles and helpful parenting tips today.

The Velveteen Rabbit: A Book Review

Classic books stay on shelves for a very long time and possibly forever. This is so because the lessons they teach us are too great to be kept hidden. Their philosophical themes have enriched every generation with the depth of wisdom only philosophy can fathom.

The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams Bianco is one of these classical masterpieces. Published many times since 1922, the story of the Velveteen Rabbit has pinched many hearts of different ages as it unfolds the desire of every toy to become real and the transforming power of love.

The story begins on Christmas morning when the boy received a stuffed toy rabbit as a gift. The Boy seemed to like the toy for "two hours". However, when he saw the other toys made of more "modern" materials, he totally forgot about the Rabbit. The Rabbit was kept in the toy cupboard or found lying on the nursery floor as he waited for the boy to play with him. For the meantime, he befriended the Skin Horse who was the wisest toy because he had lived longer in the nursery than any other toys. The Rabbit learned from the Skin Horse how to become Real. The Horse was Real great many years ago because the boy's uncle had loved him unlike any other toys. Eventually, the boy came to play with the Rabbit. For a long time, he held the Rabbit so dearly that he learned to love him. The Rabbit was real to the boy.

To be Real is to be Significant. We become significant when we are loved. And we are loved when we are willing enough to submit ourselves to the subject of our own love. This is the central theme of the book. It is a reflection of what we are as human and as one with all creatures. It is this oneness that makes us real. We strive to belong and be loved that we turn ourselves to others until we do not completely own ourselves anymore. When the Skin Horse said, "You become," it is the process that we go through to cast away our belief that we can leave alone, because we simply cannot.

Margery Williams' great hand on weaving a true children story did not only gain children audiences, but it has also appealed to the young and the adults. To adults, this story is a reminder of the simplicity of their own childhoods, how easy it is to manifest love through giving life to otherwise inanimate objects such as toys. It is a billboard of innocent memories.

The Velveteen Rabbit was brilliantly crafted that every parent would love to read it to their children every night before they go to sleep.

"The King's Ransom" Will Delights Readers As First in "Young Knights of the Round Table" Series

Children, parents, and educators will be delighted that Cheryl Carpinello, author of "Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend" is back with another King Arthur story for young readers. Like "Guinevere," "The King's Ransom (Young Knights of the Round Table)" is a chapter book and also the first in a projected series of "Young Knights of the Round Table" novels.

While King Arthur and one of his greatest knights (to say which knight would be giving away the plot) make cameo appearances in the book, the primary story centers around Gavin, the Prince of Pembroke Castle, and his two friends, Philip, a young boy with secrets, and Bryan, a blacksmith in training, as they seek to save the life of their mysterious friend, the Wild Man, who has been training them for knighthood. The Wild Man has been accused of murdering and stealing the gold and emerald medallion, known as the King's Ransom, which allowed its owner to wield enormous power. Convinced the Wild Man is innocent of the crime, Gavin and his friends are determined to find out who the real killer is before King Arthur arrives to watch that justice is done and the Wild Man put to death.

The adventures these future Young Knights of the Round Table experience in their quest to save their friend are filled with the fantasy and adventure story elements that children love to read. There's a villain, secret passages in castles, swordplay, and even a witch. And with King Arthur's appearance, astonishing secret identities being revealed, and a happy ending, what more could anyone want in a good read?

As a teacher, Carpinello has been teaching the legend of King Arthur to her young students for over twenty years, so she has a good sense of what children want to read as well as how to educate them through a story. At just seventy-seven pages, the book is divided into eighteen short chapters that keep the pacing of the book fast and readers interested. "Young Knights of the Round Table: The King's Ransom," will teach young readers tolerance, loyalty, and courage as well as introduce them to the wonderful and thrilling literature of the Arthurian legend. While the book is best suited for readers in third through eighth grade, both young and old readers, boys and girls, as well as adults and King Arthur enthusiasts everywhere will enjoy this book. I only wish Carpinello had been writing her books when I was a child.

Tyler R. Tichelaar holds a Bachelor's and Master's Degree from Northern Michigan University and a Ph.D. from Western Michigan University. His family's long relationship with Upper Michigan and his avid interest in genealogy inspired Dr. Tichelaar to write his Marquette Trilogy: Iron Pioneers, The Queen City, and Superior Heritage. Dr. Tichelaar is also a professional book reviewer and editor. For more information about Tyler R. Tichelaar, his writing, and his author services, visit:

Use 'Tell Me Why' Books to Answer Children's Questions

Being a parent, you surely understand that children have a very inquisitive nature. They are keen to know and understand about everything happening around them. This is very natural, and in fact good, as it shows that they actually pay attention. At times, however, the question that they may ask you can sound easy, but very difficult to explain, at least in a way that they would be able to understand. Some of the questions that they may ask you are "Why does it rain?", or "Why do stars twinkle?"

You might try your best to answer such questions, but if you try and give them a scientific explanation, they probably are not going to understand. If you need some help, you can depend on a "tell me why book". You should find books of this nature in the local children bookstore. Common children questions are compiled and then answered in such a simple yet factual manner, which your child will easily understand. The best place to find all your "why?" related book information is online. Many parents have used these books, and are extremely satisfied with being able to answer any question that their children suddenly pop up with.

As parents, you are generally expected to understand everything, at least queries that your child may have. However, your child may, at times, ask such a question that will set you thinking, and you need to give a through answer for the same. In such situations it will be great if you have reference books, which you can go through, to answer what your child asks. You will surely enjoy every bit of it, and it will be a learning experience both for you and your child.

As you search for answers to your child's questions that even you do not have an answer to, you can spend some amazing time of discovery with your kid. Amongst the famous books are "Why?" and "What Is A Bellybutton." The author of the "Why?" book is Catherine Ripley, and this book is available online. Your child is surely going to enjoy the "Why?" book. Moreover, as a parent, you too will enjoy the experiences your child has with it.

A 'tell me why book' generally covers a varied range of topics like why does a door of a store open when you get close to it, why do stars twinkle, how does soap clean you, why does a frozen juice can stick to your finger as you touch it, and many other questions that are connected to the day to day experiences your child has. The category can be a little vague as you search for these kinds of books. However, if you inquire at local bookstores, or search online for why related children books, you will surely find what you are in the search of. By being informative, these books are also fun and educational. In fact the "tell me why book" will prove immensely helpful for your child, at least in the early elementary school level. Get these books, have fun with your kid, and see him thoroughly enjoy his learning experience.

Use a tell me why book to answer your kid's questions. As parents, we all know that children are naturally inquisitive and very interested in the world around them. This is normal, and is usually a very good thing, because it proves to us that they really are paying attention. However, sometimes the questions they fire at us can be hard to answer in a way that they can easily understand. More can be read at the blog

Children's Books Will Never Die

Page Turners In An Android World

It was really not that long ago, young kids would sit in classrooms, wearing uniforms, not talking, sitting straight, hairs cut, eyes wide, and minds on; reading ancient text books fearful of the ever watchful eye of their dark overlord guardian/teacher/mentor. To breathe a word out of line warranted violent abuse and to be late or not properly dressed resulted in hospitalisation. The idea of pageless books was mere science fiction.

To be an author was to drown one's self in whisky and cigarettes over a second hand typewriter looking out through a rain-soaked window contemplating the deepest chasm of human emotions. It was to lose sleep over characters, scrolling encyclopaedia-like adventure series'.

These were the days before kids could flip through online flip-books on their android whilst catching the bus to school, before stringing two clever sentences together on reddit made you a genius wordsmith and before sharing stories could be done with one simple click.

Children still crave adventure, kids still seek fiction, and fun, fantasy and escape from this world, but other means of obtaining such content have emerged from the muck in the same way God created Eve from the ribs of Adam. Media platforms never cease to expand, becoming ever smaller, ever faster and ever easier for us to simply zone out from reality. You can now even read flip-books for babies online.

Nonetheless, a peculiar phenomenon has bubbled to the surface of the shallow mindless future we call the present. Books, in particular children's books, have not only stayed the course. They have been swimming through the digital age as if on a cloud of immortality, taunting technology with the distinguished silence of a twice-bitten cow.

According to various online sources, sales of hard and soft cover fiction novels are holding strong against their electronic counterparts. And whilst e-books are famously known for being easier to access and cheaper, a majority of respondents agree that reading the actual physical copy of a book is far more pleasurable.

But why? Has digital reached its maximum infiltration into our lives? Are people retreating from the intrusion of e-spying? Or do people simply prefer the texture of ink and paper? The smell of new pages? The beauty of these questions is that each person will answer differently.

There will always be a place for digital books, taking on great easy-to-use platforms such as iPads and Kindles. Budding entreprenuers can even make extra pocket money selling other authors books via affiliate networks, allowing customers to bypass actual stores.

However the best place for a nose to be (according to most avid readers) will always be buried between the covers of a fresh smelling page turner of a tale. The product is the same, regardless of if it was purchased online or from a bookstore.

The Proof Is In The Pudding.

The exciting part about all this hoo-ha and ramble is that pieces of literary classic and fiction are not being lost, rather, preserved. Roald Dahl is still the king of telling weird wonderful and wacky adventures, newcomers to the scene such as J.K. Rowling are amassing fans worldwide through physical hardcopies of their stories.

As for the days of concentration camp schools, where education came second to discipline, will the opposite of our generation be paying for the switcheroo of the later and former in the future? That is for the hourglass. All that should be important is the smile on a kids face, lost in adventure.

Rob Towner lives with his wife Courtney somewhere on the East Coast of Australia. He writes books for children to read for free online at